Kentucky senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul’s campaign operative, Jesse Benton, appears to be in some major trouble after his October meeting with undercover reporters in New York, proposing to make unlawful donations to President-elect Donald Trump.
In September, Republican operative Jesse Benton was sentenced to two years of probation after he bought a senator’s endorsement while campaigning for Ron Paul in 2012. Less than a month later, according to a report from the Telegraph, Benton bragged to journalists of his ability to funnel $2 million to a pro-Trump PAC through his own company’s public affairs as a means to hide its origin.
Little did Benton know, the people he was talking to were actually journalists who were disguised as Chinese associates of a benefactor; it is prohibited by law for foreign nationals to donate to any U.S. federal election.
Benton managed Sen. Rand Paul’s general election campaign in 2010; Paul is the uncle of Benton’s wife. He also managed McConnell’s re-election campaign in 2014, but after allegations about his part in Ron Paul’s presidential campaign came to light, he resigned.
Benton told the reporters he was a Great America PAC consultant and described a “voter suppression” strategy by using out-of-context quotes from President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in order to purpose Democratic deception against African American voters.
Earlier this month, federal prosecutors filed a report against Benton for violating his probation when he traveled to New York City for the meeting. Benton was “verbally admonished” by his probation officer for his unauthorized travel and then reminded of his probation terms. It was recommended by his probation officer that no further action be taken.
The report that was filed against Benton reads this in part:
‘While in New York, Mr. Benton met with reporters posing as undercover foreign representatives of a wealthy Chinese businessman. Media reports, along with video clips, alleged Mr. Benton attempted to gain funding from foreign entities for President Elect Donald Trump’s campaign.’
Prosecutors disagreed that no further action be taken and asked for a court hearing. If Benton is convicted, he is looking at more than two years in prison.
At his sentencing, Benton complained that the conviction ruined his political career, saying:
‘It’s been years of sleepless nights and public humiliation, time and time again.’
No, Benton, your sentencing did not ruin your career, you did.
Check out the video below, courtesy of YouTube:
Featured image courtesy of Getty Images
H/T: The Telegraph.